Ahead of a Life-Changing Event, My Sister and I Found Comfort in Carmel

When I was in the sixth grade and my sister was in the eighth, we went to my first school dance dressed exactly alike. I wasn't sure what to expect and I was nervous, so when our mom took us shopping for outfits, I took the lead of my more experienced sibling and picked out a different shade of the same thing she chose to wear. It should be noted, too, that when it came time for me to attend my high school homecoming and senior prom, I didn't just wear versions of what my sister wore two years earlier—I wore the exact same dresses.

My sister has always been a large figure in my life, as older siblings tend to be. If Scout had Jem and Elizabeth had Jane, then I had Kimberly. I looked to her as a de facto role model, the person who always seemed calmer and more collected as we moved through the various milestones of our childhoods. She never once seemed annoyed that I happily lived in her shadow, even though she must have been, and as we grew up she maintained her place as my example. There were and still are fights, but there's a strong bond, too.

In October, my sister will give birth to her first child. It was big, exciting, and tear-inducing news when she and her husband announced it to our family last spring, and the ensuing months have been met with her familiar calm composure. Like usual, I've assumed my more apprehensive role. What will the baby be like? How will they do as parents? What can we all do to prepare? As I spent the summer wondering about how our lives will change—hers more than mine, of course—I began to get nostalgic about our sisterly relationship as it stands. So I asked her if she wanted to go on a road trip with me from Los Angeles to Carmel-by-the-Sea, California in August, and I posed it as a last hurrah.